• Married couples dominate early stages of the Linea Directa Valencian Bowls Championships

Lawn bowling has finally made a competitive return to the area with the start of the 13th Edition of the Valencian Bowls Tournament, sponsored once again by Linea Directa.

The traditional parade of clubs and opening ceremony did not take place due to Covid-19 restrictions so despite a threat of heavy rain, the competition got underway in bright sunshine at the Emerald Isle and Quesada Bowls Clubs last Wednesday with Sandra Kavanagh rolling the first competitive bowl at her home club, in the Preliminary round of the mixed Triples competition.

Unfortunately Sandra and her team mates, husband Brian and Elwyn Morris, failed to progress beyond that stage as they were subsequently knocked out by the ‘in form’ Vistabella threesome of Gary and Carol Thorpe and Fred Willey, who then went on to progress to the final four. The trio will now meet Andy Miles, Peta Rhodes and Sue Bosworth of the Emerald Isle in the semi final after Andy, Peta and Sue overcame the 2020 winners, Brenda Jiggins, John Jukes and Graham Richardson of Country Bowls in the Quarters.

Lisa Bonsor directing her husband's efforts  in the Mixed Pairs
Lisa Bonsor directing her husband’s efforts in the Mixed Pairs

In the bottom half of the draw Marjorie Parnham, Michael and Pauline Harrison of Finca Guilla will play Country Bowls John and Sheena Mallet and Dennis Wade

It was the Mixed Pairs that took centre stage on Friday and Saturday with the competition being dominated by married couples, three of them winning through to the semi Finals.

Pete and Lisa Bonsor progressed to the last four relatively unscathed. They will now meet Sue Elvin and Graham Shoots, conquerers of Martin and Maureen Foulcer, who, on home soil, will provide them with rather more of a challenge if they are to progress to the final.

In Semi Final Two Drew and Ann Marie Gerrard will also have home advantage against Bonalba’s Dennis and Chris Wright who knocked out Andy Miles and Peta Rhodes in Round One. They were also responsible for the elimination of the Valencian Delegate, Bob Donnelly and his partner, Anita Brown in the Quarter Final.

Tom Spencer and his team mates, the Stones, suffered an early exit
Tom Spencer and his team mates, the Stones, suffered an early exit

As the competition now begins to heat up the Men’s and Ladies Pairs were played on Sunday and Monday where Men’s holder Gary Thorpe has a new partner in Fred Willey. In the Ladies Competition, San Miguel’s holders Val Hignett and Anita Brown had a first round tie against Sue Jordan and Irene Laverick of La Siesta.

The two blue ribbon events, the Men’s and Ladies Singles will get underway at the two venues on Tuesday and Wednesday. In the Men’s competition two time winner Peter Morgan of Quesada will be seeking his third consecutive title, but first, in what must surely be the tie of the round, he will have to get past the 2017 champion Martin Foulcer at Quesada on Tuesday.

Without holder Maggie Furness, there will be no shortage of competition in the Ladies Competition with three previous winners, Anita Brown 2014, Peta Rhodes 2017 and Ann Marie Gerrard 2019 all vying for ownership of the prestigious title, with that contest getting underway from Wednesday.

All of the rounds will be played through to the semi final stage prior to the semis and the finals moving to the Emerald Isle Bowls Club, where they will get underway on Saturday.

There is plenty of seating available at both venues where spectators are welcome, absolutely free of charge, throughout the entire competition.

Linea Directa will be proudly sponsoring the tournament for the sixth consecutive year.